Nest entrance types of stingless bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae sensu lato) in a Tropical Dry Forest of mid-Western Brazil

Felipe Varussa de Oliveira Lima, Rogerio Silvestre, José Benedito Perrella Balestieri

Abstract


Characteristics of nest structure and nesting habits are useful in taxonomical, phylogenetic, and ecological studies, but for some environments this information is lacking. The external architecture of the nest entrance of native stingless bees (Apidae s.lato: Meliponina) was studied in the Serra da Bodoquena range mountain, Brazil. Our objective was to evaluate the pattern of nesting stingless bees in a tropical dry forest and check if the structure of micro-habitat can modify the default building entrance and the type of substrate used by bees. Colonies were discovered by active search and some workers were collected on the nest entrance with entomological nets. The following characteristics of the nest were described: the substrate used, shape and color of the nest entrance, entrance height aboveground, number of bees guarding the entrance of the colony, worker defense at the nest entrance, and description “in situ” of land use in the surroundings of the colony. We assessed a total of 26 nests of six species of Meliponina bees. The observed nest frequency were: Tetragonisca fiebrigi (Schwarz, 1938) (n=13), Scaptotrigona depilis Moure, 1942 (n=6), Plebeia sp.1 (n=4), Tetragona clavipes (Fabricius, 1804), Partamona cupira (Smith, 1863), and Oxytrigona tataira (Smith, 1863) (n=1). The substrates were used in the following order of preference: hollows of living or dead trees, cavities of limestone, termite mounds, and one nest in a wooden box. We detect different  patterns of construction nest entrance in Plebeia sp.1; and observed a highest nest aggregation in open areas.


Keywords


Meliponina, behavior, nest structure, worker defense, nest aggregation.

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v60i4.421-428

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